Every year ghost nets are responsible for trapping and killing millions of marine animals including sharks, rays, bony fish, turtles, dolphins, whales, crustaceans, and birds.

Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been left or lost in the ocean by commercial fisheries. These nets, often nearly invisible in the dim light, can be left tangled on a rocky reef or drifting in the open sea. Various marine animals, from seals to whales, become entangled in these abandoned nets and may drown within minutes or endure long, slow deaths lasting months or even years, suffering from debilitating wounds, infection and starvation. Ghost nets also contribute greatly to marine debris — according to a 2018 study in Scientific Reports, ghost nets makeup at least 46 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Those abandoned fishing lines and nets that do breakdown never go away; they just become smaller pieces of plastic. Marine animals mistake this microplastic for food and eat it, which can harm internal organs, keep them from eating, and expose them to toxic chemicals — eventually ending up in the seafood humans consume.

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Other Seafood Hazards



Plastic Pollution